If you’ve read the “About” page, you know that this blog is here to collect my various medieval research projects, primarily in the areas of brewing and poetry/stories. If you have any questions/comments/critiques about any of my work, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.
My goal is to present interesting information and history, as well as showcase my various projects. In doing so, and in the discussions that I hope will ensue, I also aim to expand my own understanding of these fields. One must teach in order to learn.
The first major project I’ll be documenting is a fairly in-depth attempt to research and re-create Viking-age ale. I’ll be presenting educational posts about plant physiology and the biochemistry of barley development, analytic posts regarding archaeological evidence for such beverages, analyses of documentary evidence, surveys of etymological evidence, and the results of my own experimentation.
For the curious, I do have a working hypothesis based on what I’ve researched: Viking ale was likely made from a combination of a specialty-baked sourdough barley “bread” and honey. Malting as we know it was probably not done; in its place, I propose an “acid malting” process that would accomplish a very similar end to modern malting, and would also act as a “cold mash” at the same time. I have not yet delved heavily into the possible use of hops (though we know Vikings had access to them) or any gruit that may have been used; this first phase focuses on the fermentables and the base liquid.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be laying out the research and interpretations that brought me to this hypothesis, and the experiments I will be doing to investigate the production of the beverage.
I may prove myself wrong during my research, but hey, that’s what makes science so exciting!